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|Kershaw to lead festival entertainment|
Mention Cajun music and the first thought that comes to mind is usually Doug Kershaw.
Known as the Ragin' Cajun, the multi-talented Doug Kershaw will perform at this year's Franklin Parish Catfish Festival, April 12. Kershaw will be in concert at 3:30 p.m. on the Old Glory stage and will also help judge the North Louisiana Fiddling Contest at 12 noon festival day.
Doug Kershaw's name is synonymous with Cajun music, a genre that was in decline before he helped revive it in the late 1960s. Although he is proud that he helped bring Cajun music and culture back to the fore through his tireless musical efforts, his ability to play other types of music have also helped to cement his legendary status in the music business. His live performances feature an energetic, swirling mix of rock, blues, jazz, country, and, of course, Cajun music. Once Doug gets warmed up, he takes his audience on a joyride through a multitude of musical styles.
Kershaw is widely regarded as one of the best fiddle players to ever pick up the instrument. In concert, he doesn't so much play the fiddle as he attacks it, sawing away so ferociously at times that clouds of rosin rise from his bow, giving the impression that the instrument is actually smoking. His fiery playing often wears out two or three bows per song.
His talent is not limited to his incredible fiddle playing. He taught himself to play 28 instruments over the years and is a top-notched songwriter, vocalist and, when the mood strikes him, heÌs been known to dance up a storm on stage as well.
Born on a houseboat tied to a cypress tree in Tiel Ridge, Louisiana, an island just off the coast in the Gulf of Mexico and in the heart of Cajun Country, Kershaw has led an interesting life. The seventh born child of an alligator hunter, he was raised in a home where Cajun French was spoken and didn't learn English until he was eight. By that time, he had mastered the fiddle, which he played from the age of five. His first gig was at a local bar, the Bucket of Blood, where his mother accompanied him on guitar.
He joined his brother's band and eventually had several Top 40 country hits before being invited to join the Grand Ole Opry in 1957. In 1961, he recorded his career-defining song, "Louisiana Man," an autobiographical recording that immortalized his family, sold millions of songs and has been covered by more than 800 artists.
Other signature Kershaw songs include "Diggy Diggy Lo," "Cajun Joe" and "Rita, Put Your Black Shoes On."
Kershaw has enjoyed a successful and colorful career, and continues to enjoy performing and making his concerts fun and enjoyable for his audience. He has no plans to retire and is currently working on an autobiography. He continues to record new albums, including one in French.
He and his wife Pam have five sons and two grandsons -- all musically talented. His son Tyler is the drummer in his band.
A truly unique performer, Kershaw continues to expand his musical boundaries while remaining true to his Cajun roots.